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Meet the Candidates

To prepare for the upcoming school elections, the Levittown School District, on May 1, held a “meet the candidates” forum, where members of the voting public were given a chance to ask questions from each of the five candidates in the race. 

The event highlighted several hot-button issues, including the school’s financial planning, the implementation of the common core learning standards, transportation, and the gap elimination adjustment. 

 

Challenger Marian Adrian, a 1991 Division Avenue High School graduate, opened the forum with some concerns regarding the district’s proposed spending plan for 2014-2015 and its projections over the next five years. 

 

“I am concerned that we plan on dipping into reserves for the next five years until it’s depleted,” said Adrian.

 

Incumbent Michael Pappas, when asked about the district’s fate and how it is tied to the gap elimination adjustment, echoed Adrian’s concerns about spending out of the district’s reserve funds. 

 

According to Pappas, Levittown school district has spent close to $30 million between the 2009-2010 school year to the present on the Gap Elimination Adjustment. 

 

“It’s only a matter of time before you’re going to see districts fall,” Pappas said. “We have insulated [the school district’s finances] to push our expiration date to July 1, 2018.” 

 

In order for the school district to use its reserves, voters must pass a referendum to spend out of its savings. 

 

The candidates also addressed New York State’s roll-out of the Common Core Learning Standards assessments, which were first adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in 2010 to assess students in grades 3-8 on the knowledge and skills they must achieve within each grade-level to better prepare themselves for college and careers. 

 

This past year, members of the Levittown Board of Education denounced the implementation of the Common Core assessments by passing a resolution that calls for a reduction in the reliance on standardized testing.   

 

Peter Porrazzo, an incumbent, said that while the board passed a resolution it was not against the principles of the common core but against the implementation and use of data mining to access a student’s personal information. 

 

This year, a large contingent of parents have written in letters to the district telling them they want their kids to “opt out” of taking the state tests. Porrazzo added that while the “opt out” movement has been a vertible lightning rod in the community, that it should be left as a personal decision by the parent. 

 

“But there will be serious consequences for opting out,” Porrazzo said. “[The state] is not going to let this go on forever.” 

 

Karen Smith, a challenger and active member of the PTA, said that while she believes in the essence of the common core, that the implementation was flawed. 

 

“It should be conformed to each child … to fit them,” Smith said. 

 

Frank Ward, a Board of Education incumbent who has decided to run on a ticket with the two newcomers, said that he has two children in the district and that he understands how difficult it is for parents to see their kids struggle with school. However, he added, a candidate must remain impartial to any issue that will affect the community. 

 

Among the duties entrusted to the school board, this year, the district will review several candidates to select a new Superintendent of the Levittown School District. Working with consultants from School Leadership LLC — the same agency that helped find Dr. Grossane — the Levittown Board of

Education is currently going through candidates and anticipates selecting a new superintendent for the 2014-2015 school year at the next board meeting on May 7. 

 

According to Adrian, an ideal candidate would have a clear understanding of what is the best thing for the children of the district. Pappas said that any prospective candidate needs to be a leader. For Porrazzo, a good candidate would have knowledge of every area of the district. Smith said that an ideal superintendent has to have some financial background and a basic understanding of what the community needs. Ward said the above all other aspects, the next superintendent needs to be a thinker. 

 

With time winding down before local voters go to the polls, The Levittown Tribune will continue its coverage leading up to the school district budget/trustee electionson May 20.

News

The Levittown Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual Fire Prevention Open House on Friday, Oct. 10. The event will be held at the Gardiners Ave. Fire Headquarters from 6 to 9 p.m. 

 

October is designated as the National Fire Prevention Month. Every year, during the month of October the Levittown Fire Department Fire Prevention Committee visits all the schools in the fire district teaching and re-enforcing fire safety. In the United States every year, fires in homes are the cause of the largest loss of life and serious injuries. World wide, the United

States is at the top of the list for the most lives lost. This, even when all the fire departments across the country strive to get the fire safety message out, often giving out free smoke detectors.

Long Island Democrat David Denenberg has dropped out of the race for state Senate, after recent accusations that the Nassau County Legislator fraudulently billed his own law firm—

Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron—over $2 million for non-existent case work. According to published reports, Denenberg stated, “My family, the electorate, the campaign and this position are way too important to subject myself to such outrageous allegations and negative attacks against me personally. Therefore I withdraw from the race.”


Sports

Ex-college pugilist continues ring comeback for charity

The Long Island Fight for Charity will be hosting its 11th annual Charity Boxing Event on Nov. 24 at the Hilton in Melville. Among the 20 volunteers will be Levittown native Stefan Borovina, who will be fighting under the nickname “Lights Out.”  Borovina is the business manager at RMB Electric in Farmingdale. 

 

He also participated in the event last year, after a friend from his high school wrestling team informed him. Borovina jumped at the opportunity, having had a history in the boxing ring at the University of Notre Dame.

Men’s Farmingdale State College Soccer update (3-6, 0-1 Skyline)

 

The men’s soccer team fell in both matches last week - 4-3 vs. Staten Island (2 OT) and 3-2 at Mount Saint Mary (OT). Junior midfielder J.T. Famularo (Levittown) was named to the Skyline Honor Roll. Famularo recorded a team-leading three goals last week. He scored two versus Staten Island and added one goal in the OT loss at MSMC.


Calendar

Island Trees PTA - October 1

Towns E-Cycle - October 5

Levittown SEPTA Meeting - October 6


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com